Campbellsville Update

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As the meeting for representatives from Campbellsville University and representatives from the churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention approaches, I ask for your prayers. My foremost desire is that the witness of Kentucky Baptists before a watching world will in no way be harmed. Please pray to that end. Pray also that God will grant wisdom and guidance to those who will join the discussion.

I asked Campbellsville University President Michael Carter to decide who, in addition to the two of us, should attend the meeting. He has chosen Joe Owens, Mike O’Neal, James Jones, Terry Black, John Chowning, Frank Cheatham, Larry Noe, and David Morris to represent CU. He asked that Hershael York, Dan Summerlin, Bill Henard, Charles Barnes, and Paul Badgett represent the churches of the KBC. With Dr. Carter’s permission, the chairman of the KBC Administrative Committee, Adam Greenway, the chairman of the KBC Mission Board Agencies and Institutions Committee, Daryl Cornett, and KBC Associate Executive Director Curtis Woods will also attend.

As for how this meeting came about, a little more information may prove helpful. Dr. Carter requested the meeting after I suggested it and told him to take some time to think about it.

Why did I suggest it? Seeing the growing concerns appearing on social media and receiving emails and phone calls also expressing concern, I felt that a meeting could potentially serve two purposes. First, it would permit the type of open, honest dialogue that I believe Kentucky Baptists expect from their leaders and ministry partners. Second, it could potentially allow me and other respected leaders from our churches to help CU deal with the challenges presently coming their way and ensure that CU’s relationships with the churches who have long sacrificed to support her remain strong.

Why would I want to help CU? Because I know the impact a Baptist university can have on people’s lives. Together, Michelle and I have 33 members of our family who have attended CU’s sister school, the University of the Cumberlands. Another family member, my sister, is currently applying. No way can I measure the impact that the educational opportunity afforded to our family has had upon our family.

Moreover, if CU is a school where the gospel is proclaimed, faith in the risen Lord is undergirded, and a biblical worldview is welcomed, then that is a cause I want to champion.

Furthermore, since 1984, Kentucky Baptists have invested over $31,000,000 in the university through the Cooperative Program. Cooperative Program giving to CU goes back several more decades but totals from the pre-computer days are difficult to secure. Nevertheless, I’m fairly certain that the Cooperative Program is the largest donor in the history of the university. Of course, Kentucky Baptists have additionally invested untold millions of dollars in the university through personal gifts, estates, scholarships, etc.

Some have suggested the relationship between the KBC and the university should simply be dissolved. That would be the poorest form of stewardship! To the contrary, I hope Kentucky Baptists would exhaust every avenue to address and alleviate their concerns before they would even consider such a move.

This entry was posted in Campbellsville University, Christian Education, Cooperative Program, Denominational Life, Education, Partnership, Personal Reflections, Stewardship. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

4 Comments

  1. Tommy T.
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I greatly appreciate both of your CU update posts, and your openness in sharing new developments. As a CU alum I for one will be in a spirit of prayer for you and my CU friends during the upcoming meeting and discussions. I have great interest in this issue as a CU alum and as a Ky Baptist. My prayer is that matters can be resolved and we can all move forward in the Kingdom mission.

  2. Rev. Ty CDlenney
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Chitwood: University of the Cumberlands -Campbellsville University – are the lighthouses in our KBC. Dr. Boswell. Dr. John Carter, A.B. Colvin, C.R. Dailey, Dr. Ted Sisk, Dr. Franklin Owen, Rev. Wendell Romans, were men of God just like 100’s of others across the state who have always supported these 2 Universities. I Serve on the board of the University of the Cumberlands and pray and support the position of biblical errancy and hope all of us do. Praying for you and the committee. Ty Clenney

    • Rev. Ty Clenney
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      The pastors and members of churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention have given through the Cooperative Program millions of dollars to advance our Lord’s calling to reach the world. Campbellsville University, University of the Cumberlands are two great universities fulfilling the Great Comission and producing graduates fulfilling the call of God in their lives. Let us all, do all we can to pray, support and encourage these two universities that are reaching the world for Christ. Like you, I’ve known many, pastors, university presidents, professors, throughout 50 plus years that loved and did all they could to advance their universities and the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Let us all be as committed as they were to advance the Lord’s great commission, ” To go into all the world and preach the gospel. ” Stop and think for a moment, if we didn’t have the University of the Cumberlands and Campbellsville University, who would fill their place for students to hear God’s call in their lives? We all need to give more through the Cooperative Program so that all our efforts will reach the world. Ty Clenney

  3. Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Chitwood’s leadership has been impressive on this issue. It is not at all clear whether the missions of liberal arts colleges and Baptist state conventions (especially since the Takeover/Resurgence) are compatible enough to justify such significant financial and legal relationships. It may well be the case that each entity is better off on its own. As someone who once advocated loudly and publicly for my alma mater to try to separate from its state convention, I have toned down my rhetoric after seeing how many pastors and laypeople around the state want the university to prosper and live up to its legacy, even if that means going against the wishes of the Baptist Building.

    Whatever the outcome, our prayers are with you.

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